A couple of quotes in my saved quote file just seemed to fit together this morning –
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” (Anaïs Nin)
“Love comes… when you dare to reveal yourself fully. When you dare to be vulnerable.” (Joyce Brothers)
There is little else that expands one’s life as much as sharing love with another person. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable enough to share that love takes the courage to dare that you could be hurt, especially if your love is not returned. Yet, even unrequited love expands your life, since you become more aware of your ability to love someone else.
Loving someone else does not have to be restricted to romantic love. When you form strong bonds with friends it’s often because you have allowed yourself to be vulnerable with them, perhaps sharing secrets or dreams or fears. By opening yourself up and sharing personal things with them your life has expanded to take them into your personal space. Sometimes that may prove to be a mistake, but most times they reciprocate by also sharing parts of their life with you that are their secretes. Think of your BFF’s and the things that you each shared with the other. That took courage.
Being brave enough to keep trying for friendship or love means being able to overcome the disappointments of past attempts that did not work out. In almost all cases it means being able to forgive and move on. I’ve posted here many times about forgiveness – forgiving others who might have hurt you by betraying the thrust that you placed in them; as well as forgiving yourself for misreading the situation and placing trust in someone who was not ready to honor or return that trust.
The bruise that is left by a betrayed trust or an unrequited love can be deep, but it will heal if you let it. Sometimes it is important to forgive yourself first and then move on to forgive the others. That is why Jesus included in the prayer that he taught the disciples in the Lord’s Prayer that they needed to forgive nor only their own transgressions but those who transgressed against them. I chose that version of the wording of the prayer because the word “transgressions” seems to have wider and more inclusive meaning that the word “sins”.
Don’t let your life shrink into loneliness. Put yourself out there and life will become expansive for you. Have the courage to keep being vulnerable, to keep making new friends or searching for love.
Dare to love and you will find love in return.